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  #1  
Old 09-27-2015, 11:55 PM
ILedesma ILedesma is offline
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Default my lye bath has lost power?!

1st the lye bath is a 5 gallon plastic bucket which I have outside in my garden.

in the lye bath I have two #8's, a #6 and a #5 for the past 3 weeks. I've taken them out every week to clean, thinking they should be done but nope.( they were pretty cruddy though)

It's been frustrating for the past 2 months, because it takes way too long for the crud to be taken off. steel wool pads used to do it , for tougher to take off crud I'd used those spatula/scraper tools lightly to add more pressure..

Today I took out a Red Mountain #8 out of the bath to clean, yet an hour and a half of elbow grease still didn't get it done! I was planing to finish them all today but couldn't even finish that one! it never took that long if anything I'd be done with the batch in 2 hours tops.

I hardly even use steel wool pads, these tools below Is what I use 80% of the time to take off crud:



I thought a Lye bath can be used for a year or so .. it's been a year and I have changed the lye solution close to two times.. I do use it consistently. but for the past month and a half I've started having arm /shoulder arm pain I'm now thinking it's for putting so much force and pressure scraping off crud.

What's your experience does it take over 2 weeks to clean a skillet?!

How long do you normally change your lye solution?

Any tips?
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  #2  
Old 09-28-2015, 12:04 AM
Doug D. Doug D. is offline
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Default Re: my lye bath has lost power?!

It may not be your lye solution, it might be the crud. Lye works on the grease remaining in the build-up, not the carbon. So, if the crud has had all the grease cooked out of it leaving only carbon, lye will not have any effect on it. That's usually where most let electrolysis take over. And even that sometimes has trouble getting off the really hard core stuff.
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  #3  
Old 09-28-2015, 12:57 AM
EdgarLopez EdgarLopez is offline
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Default Re: my lye bath has lost power?!

I started out with lye because easy set up, but after 6 or 7 skillets it was taken so long, since I'm mechanic I have all kind of battery chargers and plenty of metals I build up an etank,it's been running 24/7 for almost a year with out change water nor clean anodes and only takes one day to clean any kind of pice.what I recommend is make you own e tank and save lye money to buy an other. Skillet you can live the skillet as long as you want on etank until you have time for seasoning is what I do.
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  #4  
Old 09-28-2015, 01:03 AM
ILedesma ILedesma is offline
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Default Re: my lye bath has lost power?!

Doug Thank you for the insight! I didn't know.. is must be carbon then because when I take them off out I can see gunk oozing out to the bottom of the lye bath bucket what's left is the black persistent to take off coat like if it's paint but it's not ... a couple times, after trying to strip off that" carbon" I tried the Oven cleaner and bag method and that worked better. but I see you point.. and thank you for the quick reply!! much appreciated

[SIZE=1]---------- Post added at 11:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:58 PM ----------[/SIZE]

Edgar.. ok now you sold me on the e-tank! what I can spend an lye solution or oven cleaner I'll invest on a Battery charger and the rest on more skillets!! .. thank you!
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  #5  
Old 09-28-2015, 01:46 AM
RobM RobM is offline
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Default Re: my lye bath has lost power?!

What concentration of lye to water are you using? I'm running a pound of lye to 4 gallons of water.

For me, some pieces can sit for a couple of weeks and still not be clean, others are clean inside 24 hours.

As for electro, been running a computer power supply for the last year, doesn't cost a cent for me.
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  #6  
Old 09-28-2015, 03:14 AM
W. Hilditch W. Hilditch is offline
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Default Re: my lye bath has lost power?!

Has anybody considered softening the hard to remove carbon with oil before the bath?

Hilditch
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  #7  
Old 09-28-2015, 06:27 AM
Jeffrey R. Jeffrey R. is offline
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Default Re: my lye bath has lost power?!

My lye tank has not been changed going on 11 months, and still working just fine. It is a little ripe. What do I mean by fine you ask? EVERY piece of cast that goes in there comes out striped with in 48 hours, most only taking 24hours.

A little extra lye will not hurt anything, fact it just might save you some arm /shoulder pain .
Case in point. If you think that you want steal one of my pieces out of my lye tank, go ahead and stick your hand in. You just might come out without much skin.

I keep a tight lid on so I do not loose any to evaporation.

So as RobM asked. What concentration of lye to water are you using?
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  #8  
Old 09-28-2015, 07:39 AM
Dan Farmer Dan Farmer is offline
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Default Re: my lye bath has lost power?!

Probably goes without saying that you should not go from a vinegar bath to the lye tank without first rinsing well.
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  #9  
Old 09-28-2015, 10:52 AM
ILedesma ILedesma is offline
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Default Re: my lye bath has lost power?!

thank you all for you comments and helpful tips!

Robm, I'm running it at One pound of lye per five gallons of water.

yet I know when I take pieces out some of the lye solution gets dripped out, making the handles of other pieces especially larger ones stick out, so what I do is add water to cover up the handles, thru time of cleaning skillets I'm sure this has diluted the lye solution to be less concentrated.

W. Hilditch, that never occurred to me you definitely think outside the box

Jeffrey R, Iv'e been guilty of leaving the lid off for a day or two at the time (thinking the the sun my heat up the solutions causing it to be more active) this would have caused evaporation so what I've done is add water to keep the bucket full again.. and your right "extra lye won't hurt" which I thought it would.. In regards to sticking my hand to steal one of your pieces? with the concentration of lye you have in you bath I'm sure I'd come out with striped hand! the next step would have to be seasoning it..

Dan Farmer, great advise like usual
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  #10  
Old 09-28-2015, 11:04 AM
RobM RobM is offline
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Default Re: my lye bath has lost power?!

I'd up the concentration personally, add another 1/4 pound of lye and see what happens. But yeah, if you're going to be cleaning alot of cast, you should look at electro.

I still use lye to do the heavy lifting, then electro for a couple of hours.
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